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Languages of Bolivia

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Republic of Bolivia, República de Bolivia. 8,724,156. National or official languages: Spanish, North Bolivian Quechua, South Bolivian Quechua, Central Aymara. Literacy rate: 63% to 81%. Also includes Corsican (60,000), Standard German (160,000), Wichí Lhamtés Vejoz. Information mainly from SIL 1956–2003. Blind population: 1,070. Deaf population: 46,800. Deaf institutions: 9 or more. The number of languages listed for Bolivia is 44. Of those, 36 are living languages, 1 is a second language without mother-tongue speakers, and 7 are extinct.

Living languages

Araona

[aro] 81 (2000 Adelaar). Ethnic population: 90 (2000 W. Adelaar). Northwest, headwaters of Manupari River. Alternate names: Cavina.  Classification: Tacanan, Araona-Tacana, Araona 
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Aymara, Central

[ayr] 1,785,000 in Bolivia (1987). Population total all countries: 2,227,642. Whole Altiplano west of eastern Andes. Some migration to the yungas and the lowlands. Also spoken in Argentina, Chile, Peru. Dialects: Chilean Aymara is very close to La Paz, Bolivia dialect.  Classification: Aymaran 
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Ayoreo

[ayo] 771 in Bolivia (2000 Adelaar). Ethnic population: 856 in Bolivia (2000 W. Adelaar). Gran Chaco region, department of Santa Cruz. Alternate names: Ayoré, Morotoco, Moro, Pyeta, Yovai.  Dialects: Tsiricua.  Classification: Zamucoan 
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Baure

[brg] 13 (2000 Adelaar). Ethnic population: 631 (2000). Beni Department, northwest of Magdalena. Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Southern Maipuran, Bolivia-Parana  Nearly extinct.
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Bolivian Sign Language

[bvl] 350 to 400 (1988 E. Powlison). Cochabamba, La Paz, Riberalta, Santa Cruz. Dialects: Based on American Sign Language with necessary changes for Spanish spelling. Some groups in La Paz and Santa Cruz use the same signs with some dialect signs from their own areas.  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Callawalla

[caw] 10 or 20 speakers (1995 SIL). Highlands and high valleys, eastern Andes north of La Paz, Charazani area north of Lake Titicaca. Alternate names: Callahuaya.  Dialects: The language seems to have Quechua affixes and syntactic patterns, but distinctive roots from a dialect of the extinct Puquina language (Girault 1990).  Classification: Mixed Language, Quechua-Puquina 
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Cavineña

[cav] 1,180 (2000 W. Adelaar). Ethnic population: 1,736 (2000 W. Adelaar). Northern Bolivia, southeast of Riberalta, along the Beni River, east of the Beni, and 500 in the Pando on the west side of the Beni. Classification: Tacanan, Araona-Tacana, Cavinena-Tacana, Cavinena 
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Chácobo

[cao] 550 (2000 SIL). Ethnic population: 860 (2000 SIL). Northwest Beni, south of Riberalta. Classification: Panoan, Southern 
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Chipaya

[cap] 1,200 (1995). Ethnic population: 1,800. Department of Oruro, Province of Atahuallpa. Alternate names: Puquina.  Dialects: May be Arawakan or distantly related to Mayan.  Classification: Uru-Chipaya 
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Chiquitano

[cax] 5,855 (2000 Adelaar). Ethnic population: 47,086 (2000 W. Adelaar). Eastern region east of Santa Cruz. Alternate names: Chiquito, Tarapecosi.  Dialects: Concepción, San Ignacio de Velazco, San Javier (Javierano, Xavierano), Santiago, San Miguel.  Classification: Macro-Ge, Chiquito 
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Chorote, Iyo'wujwa

[crq] 8 in Bolivia (1982). Southeast, Tarija Department. Alternate names: Choroti, Manjuy, Manjui.  Classification: Mataco-Guaicuru, Mataco 
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Ese Ejja

[ese] 1,300 in Bolivia (2000 SIL). Population total all countries: 1,772. Ethnic population: 1,300 in Bolivia (2000 SIL). Northwestern region, and into the foothills on the Beni and Madre de Dios rivers in Bolivia, Tambopata and Heath rivers around Puerto Maldonado in Peru. Also spoken in Peru. Alternate names: Ese Eja, Ese Exa, Tiatinagua, "Chama", Huarayo.  Dialects: Each clan has slight dialect differences; all seem inherently intelligible. Appears to differ the most from other Tacanan languages. The Tambopata dialect in Peru is somewhat different from the Bolivian dialect.  Classification: Tacanan, Tiatinagua 
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Guaraní, Eastern Bolivian

[gui] 33,670 in Bolivia (2000 W. Adelaar). Population total all countries: 48,974. Ethnic population: 36,917 in Bolivia (2000 W. Adelaar). South central Parapeti River area, Tarija. Also spoken in Argentina, Paraguay. Alternate names: "Chiriguano".  Dialects: Izoceño (Izocenio), Ava.  Classification: Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Subgroup I 
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Guaraní, Western Bolivian

[gnw] 7,000 (2002 Russell). Chuquisaca Department, south to Pilcomayo River, east to Cuevo, north to Monte Agudo. Alternate names: Simba, Simba Guaraní.  Classification: Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Subgroup I 
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Guarayu

[gyr] 5,933 (2000 W. Adelaar). Ethnic population: 7,235 (2000 W. Adelaar). Northeastern Guarayos River area. Alternate names: "Guarayo".  Classification: Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Subgroup II 
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Ignaciano

[ign] 4,500 (2000 SIL). Ethnic population: 20,805 with Trinitario (2000 W. Adelaar). South central Beni. Alternate names: Moxo, Moxos, Mojos, Mojo.  Dialects: Limited intelligibility of Trinitario, similar to Spanish and Portuguese, with vowel reduction.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Southern Maipuran, Bolivia-Parana 
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Itonama

[ito] 10 (2000 Crevels). Ethnic population: 5,090 (2000 W. Adelaar). Beni Department and Itonamas River. Alternate names: Machoto, Saramo.  Dialects: Ruhlen classifies it as Paezan.  Classification: Language Isolate  Nearly extinct.
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Leco

[lec] 20 (2001 Simon van de Kerke). Ethnic population: 80 (2000 W. Adelaar). East of Lake Titicaca, some in Apolo area, scattered families on the Mapiri-Kaka River in Karura, Candelaria, Tutilimundi and Uyapi and on the Coroico River in Trapichiponte in KeleKelera. Alternate names: Leko, Rik'a.  Dialects: Reported to be Quechuan.  Classification: Language Isolate  Nearly extinct.
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Movima

[mzp] 1,452 (2000 W. Adelaar). Ethnic population: 6,528 (2000 W. Adelaar). Central Beni Department, in and around Santa Ana on the Yacuma River. Dialects: Reported to be Tucanoan.  Classification: Language Isolate 
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Pacahuara

[pcp] 17 (2000 W. Adelaar). Ethnic population: 18 (2000 W. Adelaar). Northwest Beni. Alternate names: Pacawara.  Classification: Panoan, Southern  Nearly extinct.
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Plautdietsch

[pdt] 28,567 in Bolivia (1996 editor, Menno-Bote).  Alternate names: German, Mennonite German.  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, Low Saxon-Low Franconian, Low Saxon 
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Quechua, North Bolivian

[qul] 116,483 in Bolivia (1978 census). 18,452 monolinguals. Apolo Region La Paz Department. Also spoken in Peru. Alternate names: North la Paz Quechua.  Dialects: Apolo, Charazani, Chuma.  Classification: Quechuan, Quechua II, C 
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Quechua, South Bolivian

[quh] 2,782,500 in Bolivia (1987). Population total all countries: 3,637,500. Highland regions and lowland except around Apolo, Northwest Jujuy Quechua in Argentina. Also spoken in Argentina. Alternate names: Central Bolivian Quechua, Quechua Boliviano.  Dialects: Sucre, Cochabamba, Oruro, Potosí, Chuquisaca, Northwest Jujuy. May be intelligible with Chilean Quechua.  Classification: Quechuan, Quechua II, C 
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Reyesano

[rey] Possibly a few speakers (2000 W. Adelaar). Ethnic population: 4,118 (2000 W. Adelaar). Beni Department, west central around San Borja, near Reyes. Alternate names: San Borjano.  Classification: Tacanan, Araona-Tacana, Cavinena-Tacana, Tacana Proper  Nearly extinct.
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Sirionó

[srq] 399 (2000 W. Adelaar). 50 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 419 (2000 W. Adelaar) to over 600 (2000 P. Priest SIL). Eastern Beni and northwestern Santa Cruz Departments, village of Ibiato (Eviato) and along the Río Blanco in farms and ranches. Alternate names: Mbia Chee, Mbya.  Dialects: Close to Yuqui.  Classification: Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Subgroup II 
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Spanish

[spa] 3,483,700 in Bolivia (1995).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, West Iberian, Castilian 
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Tacana

[tna] 1,821 (2000 W. Adelaar). Ethnic population: 5,058 (2000 W. Adelaar). Beni and Madre de Dios rivers, jungle, some in foothills. Alternate names: Takana.  Classification: Tacanan, Araona-Tacana, Cavinena-Tacana, Tacana Proper 
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Tapieté

[tpj] 70 in Bolivia (2000 W. Adelaar). Ethnic population: 74 in Bolivia (2000 W. Adelaar). Southeast, towns of Samayhuate and Cutaiqui. Alternate names: Guasurango, Tirumbae, Yanaigua, Ñanagua.  Classification: Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Guarani I 
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Toba

[tob] 146 in Bolivia.  Alternate names: Qom.  Classification: Mataco-Guaicuru, Guaicuruan 
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Toromono

[tno] 200 (1983 Varese). Ethnic population: 200 (2000 W. Adelaar). Northwest, close to the Araona, between the upper Madidi and the River Heath. Alternate names: Toromona.  Classification: Tacanan, Araona-Tacana, Cavinena-Tacana, Tacana Proper 
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Trinitario

[trn] 5,500 (2000 SIL). Ethnic population: 20,805 with Ignaciano (2000 W. Adelaar). South central Beni. Alternate names: Moxos, Mojos.  Dialects: Loreto (Loretano), Javierano.  Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Southern Maipuran, Bolivia-Parana 
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Tsimané

[cas] 5,316 (2000 Adelaar). Ethnic population: 5,907. Southwestern Beni Department and along Maniqui River, and towns of San Miguel de Huachi and Santa Ana de Alto Beni. Alternate names: Chimané, Mosetén.  Dialects: Gill (2002) reports that Mosetén move into Tsimané communities and function with seemingly no communication difficulties.  Classification: Language Isolate 
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Uru

[ure] 2 (2000 W. Adelaar). Ethnic population: 142 (2000 W. Adelaar). Department of Oruro, Province of Atahuallpa, near Lake Titicaca, near where the Desaguadero River comes out of Titicaca, near Iruitu. Alternate names: Morato, Muratu, Iru-Itu.  Classification: Uru-Chipaya  Nearly extinct.
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Wichí Lhamtés Nocten

[mtp] 1,811 in Bolivia (1994). Population total all countries: 1,911. Ethnic population: 2,081 (1994). North central Tarija Department, southwest of Pilcomayo River, Cordillera de Pirapo. Also spoken in Argentina. Alternate names: "Mataco" Nocten, Oktenai, Nocten, Noctenes, Bolivian "Mataco", Weenhayek.  Classification: Mataco-Guaicuru, Mataco 
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Yaminahua

[yaa] 137 in Bolivia (2000 W. Adelaar). Ethnic population: 161 in Bolivia (2000 W. Adelaar). Northwest corner Pando Department. Alternate names: Yaminawa, Jaminawa, Yamanawa.  Classification: Panoan, South-Central, Yaminahua-Sharanahua 
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Yuqui

[yuq] 125 (2000 Adelaar). Ethnic population: 138 (2000 Adelaar). Foothills north of Cochabamba, one location on the Chimoré River. Alternate names: Yuki, Bia.  Dialects: Close to Sirionó.  Classification: Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Guarayu-Siriono-Jora II 
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Yuracare

[yuz] 2,675 (2000 W. Adelaar). Ethnic population: 3,333 (2000 W. Adelaar). Beni and Cochabamba departments, scattered primarily along the Chapare River. Alternate names: Yura.  Dialects: Mansinyo, Soloto.  Classification: Language Isolate 
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Extinct languages

Canichana

[caz] Extinct. Ethnic population: 583 (2000 W. Adelaar). Lowlands. Alternate names: Kanichana.  Dialects: Said to be of the Tucanoan family.  Classification: Language Isolate 
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Cayubaba

[cyb] Extinct. Ethnic population: 794 (2000 W. H. Adelaar). Beni Department, west of Mamore River, north of Santa Ana. Alternate names: Cayuwaba, Cayuvava.  Dialects: Ruhlen and others classify it as Equatorial.  Classification: Language Isolate 
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Itene

[ite] Extinct. Ethnic population: 108 (2000 W. Adelaar). North central Beni Department at junction of Mamoré and Itenez rivers. Alternate names: Iteneo, Itenez, More.  Dialects: Itoreauhip. Related languages: Chapacura, Quitemoca, Cujuna, Cumana, Mataua, Uanham, Urunumacan; probably all extinct.  Classification: Chapacura-Wanham, Guapore 
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Jorá

[jor] Extinct.  Alternate names: Hora.  Classification: Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Guarayu-Siriono-Jora II 
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Pauserna

[psm] Extinct. Ethnic population: 46 (2000 W. Adelaar). Southeast Beni on Guapore River. Alternate names: Paucerne, Guarayu-Ta, Pauserna-Guarasugwé.  Classification: Tupi, Tupi-Guarani, Pauserna 
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Saraveca

[sar] Extinct. Eastern jungle. Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Central Maipuran 
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Shinabo

[snh] Extinct.  Classification: Panoan, Southern 
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